The Origins of Science, Philosophy, and the Humanities

Welcome to the Chapter 6 Discussion Board. In Chapter 6 (The Origins of Science, Philosophy, and the Humanities), Watson addresses the Greeks. Watson first cites Alan Bloom, Peter Hall, and others, all of whom praise the ancient Greeks. Interestingly, these books are mostly argue that the Greeks were great, and, these days, modern society is generally horrible. However, when we subtract the concervative hyperbole from these books, they still make an important point. As Watson notes, after the famous reforms of Solon the Lawgiver, the Greeks went on to invent much of the sciences of we know and cherish today. The Greeks, thus, gave us everything from our court structure, democracy, scientific thinking (e.g. the scientific method, observation, empiricism, etc.), the use of philosophical reason (independently of the government or the gods), higher education and schools, and the notion of objective written history (e.g. Herodotus and Thucydides), medicine, and theater. Indeed, it is hard to overestimate how important Greek civiliztion- all those inventions- was to our future. And, given this, it is easy to wonder what society would be like today if Greek civilization had not largely fallen out of fashion, use, and practice for than a millennium, but had simply continued unabated.


1. Clearly, the ancient Greeks gave us much of what we can fortunately take for granted today. Interestingly, though, much of this is because of the efforts of certain individuals. Many of these individuals are mentioned in the text. In your view, who are the most of important of these individuals, what are their famous ideas, and (most importantly) why have these ideas been so important to the future? As always, detail is important here.

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